Primal Obsession
By Kris Jones
Mar 4, 2009 - 8:52:07 AM

PRIMAL OBSESSION is a title that works on several levels—a serial killer compelled to find women and kill them in a horrible manner, a former baseball player embittered over the loss of his career and a reporter who can’t give up the search for the man who stole her best friend from her.

Journalist Annie Wylde gives the killer his name, the Hunter. After capturing his prey, he strips them naked and hunts them in the wild Maine woods. Police have no clues as to his identity, so Annie makes it her business to find out all she can about the monster, especially after her dear friend, Emma, becomes one of his victims. Emma loved any outdoor activity, while Annie is convinced—and with good reason—that Mother Nature has a vendetta against her. But in Emma’s honor, Annie takes a nature trip into Maine’s extensive forests, first to leave some of Emma’s ashes in a place she loved, and second, to try to get inside the Hunter’s mind from the perspective of his comfort zone, where he kills and leaves his victims.


Leading the week’s expedition is Sam Kincaid, a big league ball player. Injury caused him to give up a career he loves, while bitterness and self-pity led to alcohol and a thrown-away opportunity in the Red Sox’s front office. Now he’s back in the family business taking his first group of nature neophytes into the woods. Will hiking, canoeing and fishing make things better or worse? Sam’s confidence is so low already it doesn’t seem things could get much worse—unless he screws up something as simple as plotting a course for a hike or herding his chicks through low-level rapids. When those very things do happen, Sam is ready to confess there’s nothing he’s good for. To his mind, the trip is a bust half-way through. Of course, he hasn’t counted on falling in love with the beautiful journalist who takes his breath away—or having to protect her from an unknown killer who tags along.


Sam knows he can’t start anything with Annie since she’s a client, but heck, she won’t even flirt a little. Seems she has something against jocks. But her banter and sharp wit keep him on his toes and smiling. For her part, Annie finds it hard to believe that Sam is any different than previous boyfriend and tennis champ, Ian, who proved to be an arrogant, self-centered jerk. As the week progresses, she finds Sam is kind, intelligent, funny and far too sexy for her own good. But will that make any difference when things start happening around camp, things that indicate the Hunter has tracked her into the north woods and means to show her who’s boss? Will Sam and Annie win the game of life and love or strike out before the bases have a chance to be loaded?


From the first word to the last, PRIMAL OBSESSION held me captive. The characters are a joy to read with their easy banter and ever-increasing sexual tension. The suspense is equal partner to the romance, which progresses at a perfect pace throughout. This is one suspense plot where the heroine is brave and intelligent, meaning she knows not to go down the cellar steps in the dark in the middle of a thunder storm. Along with Sam and Annie and the other full-blown characters in PRIMAL OBSESSION, is another character—the Maine woods themselves. Ms. Vaughan paints them so that I felt I was there, though fortunately not having to run naked through them. Thanks, Ms. Vaughan, for such a wonderful read!

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